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The Petite Sirah Grape


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About Petite Sirah

(Synonyms: Dure, Duret, Durif, Fourchue, Gros Noir, Petite Syrah, Pinot de l’Hermitage, Pinot de Romans, Plant Durif, Serine des Mauves, Sirane)

Background

Map showing California’s wine regions

Petite Sirah is a red-wine grape originating in relatively modern times (the 1860s) as a cross between the grape types Peloursin and Syrah (with which Petite Sirah should not be confused). The grape is commonly known outside the U.S. as the Durif, from the name of the botanist who created it, François Durif. The grape is today not much grown outside of the U.S. and Australia; almost none is grown in its native France, where it is a disdained type.

In its early days, Petite Sirah wine was chiefly produced by a few wineries in California’s Livermore Valley, and had a reputation as a huge, dense, inky, profoundly tannic monster. More modern renditions, giving the grape some respect and care, have produced palatable wines of less brute force, but the type is still marked by the qualities of a very dark “squid-ink” coloration, medium to dense body, fairly high acidity, dark-fruit flavors (plum, blueberry), and above all the characteristic “black pepper” nose and flavor overtone. It is not a subtle wine, but is useful whenever a strong red is wanted.

Because most plantings were in the era when winemaking in the U.S. mainly wanted economical bulk production for jug “Burgundy”, most of the vineyards containing Petite Sirah were and often still are planted with other varieties intermixed (a so-called “field blend”), and it is probable that most wine sold as Petite Sirah is actually some sort of blend impossible to exactly sort out. (Typical admixture types would be Alicante Bouschet, Carignan, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Peloursin, Béclan, and Zinfandel.) Nonetheless, by now—because many of those old vineyards were torn out while Petite Sirah was in eclipse—most “Petite Sirah” from California is wholly or very largely monovarietal.

Petite Sirah takes well to oak-barrel aging, which can import a “chocolate-y” quality to it. Also, Petite Sirah being, as noted, highly tannic, can age for long periods, even decades. Not a few say that while the latest efforts are drinkable and pleasing now, a minimum of one decade, and ideally two or three, will much improve them.

Factoid: Petite Sirah has is own appreciation society, P.S. I Love You.

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Some Descriptions of Petite Sirah Wines

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Some Petite Sirahs to Try

(About this list.)

Parducci “True Grit” Reserve Petite Sirah

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



J. Lohr “Tower Road” Petite Sirah

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Michael David “Petite Petit” Petite Sirah
(Blended with 15% Petit Verdot.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



Plungerhead Petite Sirah

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks



The Crusher “Grower’s Selection” Petite Sirah
(About 80% to 85% Petite Sirah, plus several other reds.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
  (This wine has two separate listings at CellarTrackker.)
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks

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For a Splurge

Our nominations is the Turley Wine Cellars “Turley Estate” Petite Syrah [sic]. (Don’t confuse this with any of their several named-vineyard “Estate” Petite Sirahs—which they choose to call Petite Syrahs.)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Tasting Notes” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks

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This page was last modified on Thursday, 23 January 2020, at 12:54 pm Pacific Time.